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Review of the week

Chris Charles | 14:25 UK time, Friday, 8 May 2009

As the dust began to settle after Chelsea's Champions League exit, there were enough conspiracy theories to get Jack Bauer another two series.

Depending on which side of the fence you sat, you were either busy texting your mates block capital acronyms ('LOL, LMAO HAHAHAHA!!!!' was the one I got from a Gooner friend) - or believed you'd just witnessed the biggest carve-up since Desperate Dan attended an all-you-can-eat-for-a-fiver buffet.

Defender Jose Bosingwa suggested the referee was a "thief", then thought better of it, while manager Guus Hiddink admitted his side had been robbed, before wisely adding: "Conspiracy is a very tough word" (particularly if your Scrabble opponent's just stuck it down on a triple-word score).

And then there was the dummy match report apparently posted on the official Uefa site before the game which correctly predicted the outcome of the match (although, unlike the Kaiser Chiefs, not the riot that followed).

Now I'm not Chelsea's biggest fan but they looked to have been denied at least three blatant penalties by the unfortunate Tom Henning Ovrebo, who unwittingly catapulted himself into second place on England's list of comedy Norwegians, just behind the "Maggie Thatcher, your boys took a hell of a beating" bloke.
Michael Ballack and Tom Henning Ovrebo
And as he sits in his bolthole in Outer Mongolia, you can bet he's ruing the day he was photographed wearing the Mickey Mouse T-shirt lovingly reprinted on the front page of Friday's Daily Star.

The bald official has clearly modelled himself on the world's best-known referee but was less Collina and more Colin Hunt as Ballack and Drogba chased him around the pitch. All that was missing was the Benny Hill theme tune, which will no doubt be added on to some viral or other in the coming days. Talking of which, here's the top eight featuring Ballack and Ovrebo sent in to Whoateallthepies.

Drogba looked as if he was auditioning for a remake of The Shining, although the 'Here's Johnny' moment was slightly tempered by the flip-flops the big striker was wearing as he bore down on Ovrebo with great vengeance and furious anger. Still, they might come in handy when Uefa send him on that long holiday.

Incidentally, there's some interesting footage of the striker on a video-sharing website entitled 'Drogba Remix' which unfortunately I'm unable to link to (nudge, nudge).

Meanwhile, the jokes have begun in earnest - these two for starters: 'I just tried to find Chelsea on the satnav - it said two minutes from Rome' and: 'There was a massive swine flu outbreak in south-west London on Wednesday night - 42,000 are pig sick'.

I watched the game at a pub in central London, having been diverted from my journey to see The Specials at Brixton Academy by a text message informing me the gig had been cancelled because Terry Hall had a throat infection - and rearranged for a weekend when I'm away. Here's a message to you, Terry - please don't make me wait another 30 years to see you.

Anyway, so I'm in this boozer trying to gauge who people are supporting, assuming there's a large Chelsea contingent in plain clothes. The answer was comprehensively provided in the 93rd minute when Barcelona's equaliser was celebrated with a cheer that nearly took the roof off - so much for supporting the English teams in Europe, eh?

Manchester United face Barca in "the final everyone wanted to see" (TM) after giving Arsenal a proper spanking in the other semi-final, so much so that Nicklas Bendtner still had his trousers down when he was ushered out of a nightspot in the early hours followng the defeat. If he'd stuck to his usual policy of missing the bar by several feet, the unfortunate incident could have been avoided.

Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines at The Emirates and celebrated by declaring his undying love for the big red machine. Yes, he's buying himself a bus. Ronaldo told a Portuguese newspaper: "For me, the sight of the red London buses is what my first thoughts of England were. My nieces and nephews would love to play on one, so I'm going to buy one for them." Presumably they might fancy a trip to Rome as well and have no doubt already beseiged their famous uncle with requests for "tickets please!"

In the week that Marks & Spencer backed down on their policy of taxing bras for the larger lady (storm in a D cup if you ask me), Ronaldo was also busy in the underwear department, buying £2,500 worth of Calvin Klein's for team-mate Danny Wellbeck, following the youngster's confession that he gets his drawers from Primark.

Fergie also got a bit saucy while moaning about the size of certain Premier League changing rooms. He said: "Craven Cottage is one of my favourite away grounds, but when you have 18 players stripping down, plus coaches, physios and kit men, it is ridiculous really." You said it.

The most nervous dressing room in the country is up at Newcastle, after veteran Toon tea lady Kath Cassidy threatened to storm in before a game armed with a picture of Jackie Milburn holding his medals and announce: "Look what he won for £20 a week." An act that would be sure to leave the players feeling very small - particularly if they'd just come out of the ice bath.
Alan Shearer
One player who won't be anywhere near the dressing room is Joey Barton, banished from Newcastle after getting himself sent off against Liverpool and then unwisely picking a fight with the boss. Reports have suggested Shearer might be tempted to stay on next season, regardless of whether Newcastle survive, although the chant of "You should have stayed on the telly!" from The Kop may have forced him into a rethink.

At least there's one St James' Park in the country in buoyant mood after Exeter's succesive promotions. Big shout to my old mate 'Butnuts', who endured years of ribbing at school as the only Exeter fan in the village, but nobly stuck by his team through thin and thinner. I haven't seen him in years, but word reaches me that he might be using the old Grecians 2000 these days.

Meanwhile, Leeds and Millwall guaranteed they won't be meeting each other at Wembley - another one for the conspiracy theorists perhaps?

The hero of the week award goes to Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin, who it seems really has been sent from Russia with love, after pleading with the referee not to give a penalty against Portsmouth when he was fairly tackled in the box. Are you watching, Michael Ballack?

And finally, the story of the week involves Huddersfield's Malvin Kamara who revealed he prepares for games by watching Gene Wilder's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Kamara, who says he has seen the film 150 times, explained: "It calms my nerves and gives me luck." A copy is in the post to Didier Drogba as we speak.

OTHER STUFF

Fergie misses the bus

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